The controversial plans for a major overhaul of the former Smithfield Market into a mixed-use London office development have been given the green light.
Henderson Global Investors Ltd has been granted planning permission to carry out extensive regeneration of the western building of the market by the City of London.
Its plans to refurbish a lot of the area including the general market, fish market, Red House buildings and engine house into restaurants and shops, but the plans will also see a six-storey office block offering around 230,000 sq ft of London office space created behind the Victorian buildings. This will all come together to create a new, Â£160m Smithfield Quarter.
Henderson director of property development, Geoff Harris, said: “We’ve spent more than two and a half years working and consulting with English Heritage, City of London planners and local residents and stakeholders to design a scheme that meets the needs of a growing City, while at the same time appreciating the heritage that has shaped it.”
The regeneration scheme has been criticised by a number of people, leading to conservationists handing a 2,600- strong petition to architecture minister Ed Vaizey earlier in the month.
The group Save Britain’s Heritage also criticised the proposals, its director, Clem Cecil, suggesting the plans were “hashed-together conservation detailing” back in February.
Save also voiced concerns over how much of the original design would be left, but in a previous statement Henderson confirmed the vast majority of the site’s Victorian building, as well as the entirety of the former fish market, would be retained.
Mr Harris added: “The scheme will bring active and vibrant uses back to Smithfield and provide a valuable retail and restaurant offer to local residents and workers.
“Horace Jones’ Smithfield was a City landmark in the 1800s and the Henderson plans approved today will help restore it to the destination that it once was. This vision for Smithfield preserves its past while guaranteeing its future.”
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